I’ve discovered a series of books that I am recommending to men today that I feel have the potential to spur on group discussion and help countless men fulfill our vocations. Mark McCann is the author of a four book series titled To the Ends of the Earth. Each book is written as a 10-week study that dives into one of 4 topical themes relevant to men today. The first book, and what the focus of this review will be is To the Ends of the Earth: Character.
Simply put, men need to focus on the values that make them men of character. But what does that mean? Are we judged by our bravery? Is our character reflected in our intelligence? Does our success and the house we live in or the cars we own reflect our character? Society may believe so, but not the Church. As Mark reveals in the book, to be a man of Catholic character is to imitate Christ.
To do this we must lead a sacramental life. Mark provides a number of tips throughout the book that spur thought and lead men into genuine paths of change. In one chapter Mark reveals that, “We must cultivate a culture of love as we walk the path toward heaven with others.” He also shows how, “We must be disciplined disciples, men of prayer who embody the grace of the sacraments each day.”
The book is divided into 10-weekly sections with readings for each day of the week. Each week leads off with an overview of the theme to be covered. Daily reflections are provided about a page in length with questions for reflection, and a scripture verse to ponder. These reflections occur Sunday through Friday with Saturday reserved as a day to journal about what was covered that week. The 10 areas covered are as follows:
WEEK 1: The Cultivator
WEEK 2: Lover of the Word
WEEK 3: Man of Discipline
WEEK 4: The Fighter
WEEK 5: The Warrior Poet
WEEK 6: The Grain of Wheat
WEEK 7: Man of Joy
WEEK 8: Frail
WEEK 9: The Comforter
WEEK 10: Man of Conscience
As each week passes and we take stock of the topics covered I am confident that those using the book will grow in Christ-like character. When we attain this we are ready for the journey ahead. The Church needs men of character today so as to right the ship. Men, we are taking on water. The ship is listing. It’s all hands on deck. As laymen well formed in character we can fix the mess we encounter all around us. In so doing we can be the leaders the world so desperately needs that guide others toward the path of righteousness. I leave you with one final quote from the book.
“Finally, we must be lovers of peace, givers of comfort, and seekers of perfection and purity, as we daily examine our lives and join our burdens and our pain to the healing grace of our Savior. In this way, we will be able to walk with others who struggle along the same path toward our heavenly home.”